Tom Mitchell so loves his penis that he calls it "Elmo" and wants to donate it—not for science, exactly, but for mass admiration. Coming in somewhere between a real, live Christopher Guest character and someone who'd be profiled on a TLC reality show, Mitchell is the clear star of directors Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math's The Final Member, a documentary about the Iceland Phallological Museum that opens Friday in select cities.
The plot of the doc concerns museum owner Sigurður "Siggi" Hjartarson's quest for a human specimen to add to his collection of preserved penises (and penis bones) of hundreds of species (the elusive human dick is the doc's titular "final member"). Iceland's own former explorer and notorious womanizer, the 95-year-0ld Pall Arason, seems like a potential donor (provided that his advanced age hasn't shrunk his penis below the so-called "legal length," which is five inches and based on an Icelandic folktale in which a woman divorces her husband for sporting three inches). But then Mitchell steps up, promising to do one better: Instead of promising his penis in death, he offers to have it amputated while he's still alive (just to make sure it all goes right — he figures that the expression "if you want something done, you have to do it yourself" applies to donating your penis to a museum). Hilarity ensues.
Though ostensibly straight, and having been married to a woman for 52 years, Siggi's obsessed with penises (in addition to collecting animal specimens, he carves penis-shaped objects like gavels and drink trays). Mitchell, on the other hand, is obsessed with his penis, though his fixation does seem to outsize Elmo, which measures in at a substantial but hardly freakish seven inches ("and a great girth," according to Siggi). The lengths these men go to as a result of their obsessions is unique, but the root of their obsessions are not. Dicks fascinate people. People want to be adored. Men want to be adored for their dicks. The reality The Final Member portrays is heightened, but it's recognizable as reality.
In the clip above, you can see that Mitchell's obsession ends up outpacing Siggi's. He exhausts the museum owner with an unending stream of updates about his plans for Elmo. Operating under the belief that it will be "patriotic" for an American to be the (former) owner of the largest and best human specimen in the museum, Mitchell gets his penis tattooed with stars and stripes. He looks into a mount that will hold not just his penis, but also his balls and "pubic scalp." He asks if he can have Elmo during the Icelandic off-season, so that he can display it in his own house. He sends pictures of Elmo in various costumes, which you can see in the clip above and also in still shots below:
There are more of these on his Twitter. What a fantastically weird human. He's not just a good museum specimen, he's an excellent documentary subject.
Mitchell, however, doesn't exactly agree:
(Note that his Twitter handle is @elmothepenis. Of course it is.)